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 Posted:   Jan 17, 2021 - 12:16 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

LADY WITH RED HAIR (1940) – 6/10

This is a standard biopic, focusing on an actress I never heard of--Mrs. Leslie Carter, aka Caroline Carter. She was big on the stage around the turn of the 20th century and appeared in some silent films. The hook in this film is that Carter (Miriam Hopkins) first comes to public attention via a notorious Chicago child custody battle in which the divorced Carter loses custody of her son because it was her infidelity that broke up the marriage to her rich husband. She vows to fight on in court, but having no money of her own, she decides to become rich by pursuing a stage career in New York, despite having never acted in her life. With a letter of introduction to noted producer David Belasco (Claude Rains), she sets out to take Broadway by storm with nothing but brashness and overconfidence.

The dynamics of the Carter-Belasco relationship are everything in this film, and Rains, in particular, does a good job in these scenes. There’s the requisite love interest—with fellow actor Lou Payne (Richard Ainley), who Carter actually married—and a few scenes between mother and son. But that pretty much covers it, and the film uses up all its plot in only 78 minutes. The film had a below-average box office take of $900,000.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 19, 2021 - 3:33 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

CRY OF THE HUNTED (1953) – 7/10

This minor chase film finds Vittorio Gassman as cajun “Jory,” an escaped convict on the run, trying to get back to his wife in Louisiana. Hot on his trail are “Lt. Tunner” (Barry Sullivan) and underling “Goodwin” (William Conrad). Although the film’s end title card has MGM’s then-usual “Made in Hollywood, U.S.A.” banner on it, a considerable portion of the film was shot in the Louisiana bayous, which is the picture’s main point of interest. If they had tried to duplicate the setting in the studio, the film would lose all believability. There’s also some good byplay between Tunner and his sassy wife (Polly Bergen). The film has a stock music score.

In all, a decent 78-minute second feature directed by Joseph H. Lewis. The film did second feature business of $1.1 million, which raises an interesting question. Back in the days when most films played with a second feature, how did the studio accountants split the box office take between the two films? For example, suppose this film was the second feature to Clark Gable’s 1953 MGM film MOGAMBO, the #9 picture at the box office that year, with a reported take of $13.9 million. If they just split the receipts evenly between the two films on the bill, that would make CRY OF THE HUNTED as popular as MOGAMBO. So, I wonder what procedure they used to divvy it up?

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2021 - 7:05 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

The Iron Giant - 4-5

I wanted to do an actual review for this but haven't had the time. Never watched The Iron Giant from beginning to end until recently. I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. It's lived up to it's cult status for the most part. I had no idea this was the same director who did those Pixar films and Tomorrowland!

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2021 - 12:36 PM   
 By:   Adventures of Jarre Jarre   (Member)

Tusk - 6/10

Damaged people trying to cope with skewed outlooks and corrupted psyches in their own ways, some more drastic than others, while body horror ensues. The ending made no sense at first, but then it was explained in a joking fashion during the end credits, and now it makes even less sense except as Smith, undoubtedly influenced to film this after binging on a Tarantino marathon, failing to rise above his comedic standard to present something tragic. The Canadian detective is exactly who you think he is, is rather distracting, and goes nowhere beyond a diva's acting exercise. The score (and its spotting) are quite nice.

 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2021 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Road to Morocco (1942) ... 7-/10

Plenty of laughs in this, the third of the series, showcasing the two stars in banter, music and ... the love of all things American! Travelling no further than the Paramount backlot our loveable pair romance the leading ladies, sing a couple of songs and plan US foreign policy ... just joking! But given they set set tribe against tribe ... smile

100% non-PC it has to be accepted as a product of its day and is best viewed as an amalgamation of stage jokes/set-pieces in which every line of dialogue is there solely to set up the next joke. All three stars are wonderful, especially when seen together (any two or all three) so much so that the rest of the cast struggle to be noticed.

It wasn't his first film but it might have been as Anthony Quinn was so out of his depth in this; and second female lead Donah Drake (unknown to me) was somewhat annoying.

A couple of great songs from the reliable Jimmy Van Heusen - Johnny Burke partnership made the whole thing worthwhile, supplementing Victor Young's score but the last act in which our (anti-)heroes start tribal war is rather unsatisfactory and mars the production.

If I hadn't a CD recording of Crosby & Hope singing the title song I'd be keeping a copy.
Mitch

After it had ended I chose another film, recorded a couple of weeks ago, to start watching. I knew it was a war setting but I was surprised and amused at the opening when someone (Brad Pitt) parachutes into the desert and we're told this is Morocco ... 1942. Spooky! smile Now at first break, hope I stick with it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2021 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Yeah, I love Road to Morocco, a big childhood favourite, & you just have to love that title song, it seems to sum up the whole series. I still have the Universal DVD box set of four of the films, & it about time I watched Morocco again, I looked at Utopia around a month ago & really enjoyed it (I think those DVDs look really good).

Fun fact, when the camel spits in Bob Hope's face, it wasn't in the script, the camel just did it, & they kept it in.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 20, 2021 - 11:22 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY (1982) – 8/10

You may not be aware of it, but gospel music was “invented;” it didn’t just spring organically from other forms. And it pretty much developed in the mind of one man—Thomas A. Dorsey. Dorsey gained fame accompanying blues belter Ma Rainey on tour and, billed as "Georgia Tom", joined with guitarist Tampa Red in a successful recording career. After a spiritual awakening in the mid-1920s, he began concentrating on writing and arranging religious music. He combined church music and the blues, and created gospel. “Spirituals with a beat,” as someone in this documentary describes it. Dorsey penned 3,000 songs in his lifetime, a third of them gospel, including "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" and "Peace in the Valley".

This film touches on that history and introduces us to Dorsey, then 83 years old, as well as some of his students, most particularly Mother Willie May Ford Smith (then 78), but also the Barrett Sisters and the O’Neal Twins. The film doesn’t take a Ken Burns-type approach to the subject, and doesn’t purport to be a comprehensive history of gospel music. It focuses primarily on musical performances in church and other group settings, and we get a little of the artists’ backgrounds as the film goes along, just by observing their conversations with each other. There is no interviewing and no narration. The music does most of the talking. If you want the details on the history of gospel, there are a number of books you can read. This film exalts in the music itself.

In this clip, the next generation of gospel singers is represented by then 42-year-old Zella Jackson Price, who sings “I’m His Child.”




SAY AMEN, SOMEBODY debuted at the New York Film Festival on October 5, 1982 to a sold-out audience, and opened in limited theaters in major cities on March 11, 1983. The film earned $1.1 million, and Roger Ebert put it on his ten-best list for 1983. It was restored in 2019 and was shown at select theaters, again receiving positive reviews. Because 28-year-old Jewish filmmaker George Neirenberg had recorded the original music in 24-track sound, he was able to restore the film in digital surround sound. At the time of the film’s original release, DRG released a double-LP album of the songs, containing twenty tracks, five of which were cut from the film. DRG and later Ryko dropped those five extra tracks from their CD re-issues.

This trailer for the restored version shows that the film is one of the most colorful documentaries ever filmed.



 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2021 - 1:26 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Yeah, I love Road to Morocco,...
Fun fact, when the camel spits in Bob Hope's face, it wasn't in the script, the camel just did it, & they kept it in.


Yes, I recall thinking that at the time ... made me wonder if the camel survived to the end of filming! smile

There are so many great lines ... I particularly liked Hope's reply to Crosby's We should storm the tent as I'll just stay here and drizzle

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2021 - 5:16 PM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Tomb Raider (2018?)
2.5/10

Absolutely generic modern action film. Dull story, flat characters, generic action, no thrills. THe music offers nothing; no emotion or excitement, it merely hums along in the background. The set pieces are garbage. The very good Walton Goggins is muted here, Alicia Vikander is likeable but comes across like she couldnt punch through wet tissue.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 21, 2021 - 10:33 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

RIPTIDE (1934) – 7/10

This semi-comedic romance was Norma Shearer's first production after an 18-month hiatus from the screen that was precipitated by her husband Irving G. Thalberg's illness. (Thalberg would die in 1936 of pneumonia at age 37.) The film finds Shearer as “Mary,” a New York free spirit who has a whirlwind romance with, and quick marriage to, visiting English businessman “Lord Rexford” (Herbert Marshall). Five years later, in England with husband and child, Mary goes to the Riviera on holiday while Rexford is in the States on business. There she meets “Tommie” (Robert Montgomery), an old friend from her New York days, and they have a flirtatious (but chaste) evening together. But when a tabloid photographer snaps a picture of her innocently kissing Tommie, a scandal erupts that threatens her marriage.

The film is a good showcase for Shearer, as she gets to run the gamut of emotions in dealing with the two men—infatuation, love, rejection, playfulness, despair, resignation, feistiness. Those used to seeing Robert Montgomery as some hard-boiled private eye may be surprised to see him playing light comedy and romance. Since the Production Code was just coming into force, exhibitors pressed MGM to change the title of the film from “Lady Mary's Lover” back to “Riptide,” its original working title. But other than the non-affair, there is little that is scandalous in the film, and there’s no indication that the Code office had any problems with the picture. The film was popular, ending up in the top 20 films of the year, with a $3.1 million gross.


 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   jackfu   (Member)

The Car (1977) 7/10 - "B" Movies, that is

I really enjoy this movie and can see how it has gained something of a "cult" following. I think it fits into the "B" movie monster flicks of the 50s category.
Of course it borrows from Jaws. What monster movie after 1975 didn't?
Considering what they had to work with I think Silverstein and crew did a great job. All the stunts had to be done real-time and if you watch the scene in which the Car barrel rolls over two squad cars, destroying them, I think you'll be hard-pressed to find better work for that era. Remember, Duel had only one stunt, at the end, and it isn't nearly as impressive. The fire at the end was quite good, considering their limitations then.
I'm not that enamored of the design of the Car, no offense, Mr. Barris, mostly due to the grille/front bumpers. Is there a resemblance to some of today's muscle cars, chop-top style, I mean?
In a brief interview, Silverstein talks about the difficulties of making the Car look scary in broad daylight, as opposed to night scenes.
The script wasn't great and there are plot holes big enough to drive a Killdozer! thru, but the crew of
"character actors" was a great ensemble. And yes, I'll take The Car over Christine any day.
Leonard Rosenman's score is very enjoyable as well, sort of a pastiche of "Dies Irae" and his work for Combat!.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Tomb Raider (2018?)
2.5/10

Absolutely generic modern action film. Dull story, flat characters, generic action, no thrills. THe music offers nothing; no emotion or excitement, it merely hums along in the background. The set pieces are garbage. The very good Walton Goggins is muted here, Alicia Vikander is likeable but comes across like she couldnt punch through wet tissue.


Spot on review. Pretty much word for word what I said. A totally pointless, uninspiring remake.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 8:02 AM   
 By:   Warlok   (Member)

The Car (1977) 7/10 - "B" Movies, that is

I really enjoy this movie and can see how it has gained something of a "cult" following. I think it fits into the "B" movie monster flicks of the 50s category.
Of course it borrows from Jaws. What monster movie after 1975 didn't?
Considering what they had to work with I think Silverstein and crew did a great job. All the stunts had to be done real-time and if you watch the scene in which the Car barrel rolls over two squad cars, destroying them, I think you'll be hard-pressed to find better work for that era. Remember, Duel had only one stunt, at the end, and it isn't nearly as impressive. The fire at the end was quite good, considering their limitations then.
I'm not that enamored of the design of the Car, no offense, Mr. Barris, mostly due to the grille/front bumpers. Is there a resemblance to some of today's muscle cars, chop-top style, I mean?
In a brief interview, Silverstein talks about the difficulties of making the Car look scary in broad daylight, as opposed to night scenes.
The script wasn't great and there are plot holes big enough to drive a Killdozer! thru, but the crew of
"character actors" was a great ensemble. And yes, I'll take The Car over Christine any day.
Leonard Rosenman's score is very enjoyable as well, sort of a pastiche of "Dies Irae" and his work for Combat!.


I honestly don't consider this a B movie. Its too good for that category.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   jackfu   (Member)


I honestly don't consider this a B movie. Its too good for that category.


Good point. I classify it as a B movie more due to it not having been a big-budget film like Jaws and other blockbusters and it has more in common with TV movies of the day than it did with blockbusters.
Also I think it could have been ~10 minutes longer. We never really get to know the characters long enough to really care about them. There are a few moments here and there that give us glimpses of them but perhaps a little time spent mourning Lauren and Everett might have helped.
I think the idea was to convey a sense of urgency in stopping the car, so it happened over a time frame of only a couple of days(?) - so no time for funerals, I guess.

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 11:09 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Killdozer!!!!! Remember that one! Lol

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 11:30 AM   
 By:   jackfu   (Member)

Killdozer!!!!! Remember that one! Lol

wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 11:37 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Bugsy
7.3/10

 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Allied (2016) ... 8-/10

Okay, I often find things to dislike about modern films and there're more than a few which fail to keep me watching. So one which has me involved to the extent that I'm longing to find out what the end will bring earns my appreciation despite a number of faults.

There is a wonderful 1940s' period setting to the film but several scenes do jar. Similarly, the dialogue - often too coarse, unnecessarily so - isn't quite right but is probably right for today's younger audiences who haven't been brought up on a diet of films from the 1950s and 60s.

On the matter of dialogue I did find some not understandable, a mixture of strong accents and sotto voce -despite playing the scenes back a second/third time ... perhaps my centre speaker needs replacing!

But almost all of my gripes are forgotten when I consider how well the cast performed and carried the story. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard were excellent and there wasn't a supporting actor who appeared miscast. Without spoilers I can't explain my main gripe other than to say I thought Max had an alternative strategy which was so obvious that I had expected the story to go in that direction and was surprised when it didn't. As it was, it built the tension nicely although we did have a silly boys-own exploit which could have ruined the last act.

A pleasant score by Alan Silvestri which was too modern in style but was supplemented by lots of period music. Even the playout sequed into Sing, Sing, Sing smile

Highly recommended!
Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 22, 2021 - 10:39 PM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Bringing Out the Dead
5/10

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 23, 2021 - 12:05 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

EXILED (1998) – 7/10

In 1995, when Chris Noth left the “Law & Order” series, the reason given for the absence of his “Det. Mike Logan” character was that he had punched out a politician and was “exiled” from Manhattan to a precinct on Staten Island. Three years later, Noth co-wrote this television movie about Logan’s attempt to get back to Manhattan by solving what appears to be a low-profile case—the murder of a black prostitute, found dumped in the harbor. But the case grows ever wider, encompassing the prostitute’s pimp (Ice-T), a mob boss (Tony Musante) and his son (Costas Mandylor), a potential dirty cop (???), and the deceased woman’s sister (Nicole Ari Parker), with whom Logan gets personally involved.

Most of the regulars from the series at that time make appearances in this standalone film—Dann Florek, Jerry Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Sam Waterston among them. The new faces include Dabney Coleman as Logan’s boss on Staten Island, and Dana Eskelson as his female partner on the case. (In 2000, Ice-T would be hired again by producer Dick Wolf to co-star in “Law & Order: SVU”, where he remains, 21 years later.) Nevertheless, the feel of this film is different from the series—because of the multiple plot threads, the new characters, the different music score (none of the “chung-chung” of the series), and the fact that the entire film focuses on the “Law” and not the “Order.” Waterston, the Assistant D.A. in the series, only makes a brief appearance, and there are no courtroom scenes. All this is because the film was also a pilot for a potential new series for Chris Noth, which NBC ultimately did not pick up. The film is a nice blend of the familiar and the new, and it’s worth watching, particularly if you are a fan of the series. Jean de Segonzac directed, Mike Post scored, and NBC aired the film on 8 November 1998.

 
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